For most of us there is no greater feeling than pulling out of the driveway with your van in tow, ready to tackle the next big adventure in the great outdoors.
We are all too familiar with how and why caravan sway can happen, but if you don’t do your due diligence by checking your van weight and something were go to awry, you may not be covered under your insurance and even be penalised for illegally driving with an overloaded caravan.
So how can you ensure you keep the good times rolling whilst keeping within the weight limits of your van? Here are 5 simple go-to weight saving tips that could help keep you stocked up but with plenty of space to spare on your next voyage.
1. Go with the essentials
Depending on where you’re headed and for how long, you may be able to get away with packing light. So instead of filling the car up to the brim, why not buy locally as you go?
Consider trying out the local wine instead of bringing your favourite drop. Don’t travel with full tanks of water and top up along the way. Maybe bring one gas bottle instead of two. Or leave the genny at home to free up some needed space and weight allocation.
Often times you think you may need that extra pan, or you absolutely cannot go a day without your morning coffee, but you might actually surprise yourself if you think of it as a challenge to see how many creature comforts you can go without and even uncover a few gems by speaking to the locals.
2. Go lithium
Another way to skim the fat off your caravan weight, is to go with a lithium battery. When your average deep cycle battery can weigh anywhere between 15 – 35kg, it really is no surprise to see more and more people choosing to switch to lithium batteries as their preferred choice.
Being a third of the weight of your normal lead-acid battery, lithium batteries are also said to be more compact, more efficient and better for the environment and has a better cycle life.
3. Go with a Solar Blanket
Everyone knows the advantages of solar for keeping the batteries charged. But dragging solar panels across the blacktop or stuffing portable solar panels in an already over-laden vehicle is not ideal either.
Traditional fixed solar panels can be heavy and quickly push you over your payload, while offering a limited amount of time for you to be able to effectively use them.
Our little secret is to go with a solar blanket. The technology behind these can give out the same or sometimes even more output for a third of the weight and size of a comparable wattage sized panel! Flexible and compact, they are easy to set-up and just as easy to put away. They are so small that it will even fit under the car seat – it's hard to beat that!
4. Go with a Battery Management System
If you’re thinking of installing a dual battery system in your van, why not go for one that gives you more bang for your buck?
The Manager30 is six products in one, so when you add up the cost of buying all the components separately, it becomes a more economical choice whilst also providing weight reduction benefits due to less wiring and fuses that are required in a more traditional build.
It also means that instead of separate systems performing different tasks, the REDARC Battery Management System acts as a central control point where you can set and forget, free to enjoy your holiday.
Top Wire Traveller recently reviewed The Manager30 and reported that, ‘the best thing about a REDARC BMS? It just works. Both of our systems are set and forget. We’ve never gone close to running out of battery power.’
Going on to add that ‘the charge time is incredibly fast, especially when combined with a Lithium battery. And the BMS seems to extract every last drop of power out of the solar panel.’
5. Go with knowledge
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. And you can really never go wrong when you go through the appropriate steps to calculate the Gross Combination Mass for your vehicle and caravan. When you have that level of understanding, you’re then able to make informed decisions on what to bring, what to leave behind, and even how much extra space you have on-board to pick up some treats on your next adventure.